By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
Nanaimo (ISN) – The Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) and BC Hockey announced Tuesday that they have granted approval for a new Junior B hockey team based in Nanaimo. The team will play out of the Nanaimo Ice Centre (NIC) and will be called the Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers will join the Westshore Wolves as the second new team to join the VIJHL this season and will be positioned in the Northern Division along with the Oceanside Generals, Comox Glacier Kings and Campbell River Storm. The Wolves will play in the Southern Division with the Saanich Braves, Victoria Cougars and Peninsula Panthers. The Kerry Park Islanders will be the swing team and has yet to decide which Division they will join for 2012-2013.
The Buccaneers are the end result of a ton of hard work over the past two years by team owners Phil and Brenda Levesque. Living in Nanaimo since 2002 where they moved from Prince George for retirement, the Levesques are well known for running the Port Alberni Junior Prep Camp for 3 years. Phil was also a 50% owner of the Kerry Park Islanders for a couple of years with Stew Gordon and as such are well known in the VIJHL community.
“It has been a fun-filled two-year process to bring the team here and we would like to say thank you to all the people that have helped us along the way” noted team owner Brenda Levesque. “Now the hard work begins to find players, volunteers, billet families, sponsors and fans! We won’t win every game this year, but we plan to take our unfair share of them!”
Helping the team to win those games will be Head Coach and General Manager Brad Knight. Knight is well known in Nanaimo for his playing days on the Nanaimo Clippers in the late 1980’s as well as for his coaching duties since then with teams such as the Cowichan Capitals and Langley Thunder (BCHL) and the North Island Silvertips of the BC Major Midget League.
Knight will be assisted by Glen Smith who is assistant coach and Director of Player Personnel. Glen is a long time Island resident and brings many years of coaching and scouting experience to the team, having worked for teams such as the Cowichan Capitals and Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Buccaneers will play their home games on Thursday nights at the Nanaimo Ice Centre (NIC). Practice times will be early mornings and weekday afternoons, so as not to conflict with Nanaimo Minor Hockey and other groups that utilize the NIC.
“We have strong ties to the Nanaimo Hockey Community and are mindful of the fact that there is limited ice time available at NIC” stressed Levesque.
“All of our practice times are in blocks that are not currently being used by any user groups. We’ll be there at 6:30 in the morning, and weekday afternoons. We intend to work alongside Nanaimo Minor Hockey, and the North Island Silvertips to help in the area of player development.”
VIJHL President Greg Batters is excited about the prospect of two new teams in the league for 2012-2013. “After losing the Westshore Stingers two years ago, we were really pushing for new teams and with the addition of the Wolves, and now the Buccaneers this season, we have accomplished that goal.”
“Both teams, with Vic Gervais at Westshore and Knight here in Nanaimo, have two young coaches at the helm who will run excellent programs and who will ensure that players at this level get the best possible development and are well prepared to play at the next level.”
“In addition to this being very exciting for the league, it will be exciting for the fans in Nanaimo who will finally get to see how talented the players are at this level.”
The Buccaneers search for those talented players will begin June 15-16th when they host their inaugural Prospects Camp at the NIC. Because there is limited ice available, there will only be 80 accepted for this camp.
The team will be looking for players whose birth year is 1995 through 1992 who have played at a competitive level and are looking to advance their hockey careers. For further details and registration forms, please email the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Buccaneers main camp will be August 17-19 with exhibition games in late August and the home opener shortly after Labour Day Weekend.
Watch for the team’s new website at www.nanaimobuccaneers.com or for further information on the team, please contact Brenda at 250-616-1404 or Phil at 250-616-1505 or email at email@example.com